Name: Michaela Sanderson
Country of residence: Australia
Title: IN THE AGE OF THE SHADOWY SUN
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction (I’m assuming this is YA since this contest isn’t open to adult fiction. Always best to make sure that age group specification is in there.)
Word Count: 150,000 (Maybe it’s different for Australian publishers, but this word count would be a tough sell for a YA novel in the U.S. Even an epic fantasy YA. I know this isn’t really within the scope of “pitch critique” but just something to be aware of long-term.)
Pitch: Kiah is torn. All she wants to do is find her mother. Unfortunately, enough people think she is the Warrior (removed a comma) to force her on a quest to destroy the Sorceress. (I’m not really sure what’s going on with this part. Why do they think she’s the Warrior? And who is the Warrior supposed to be? And who is the Sorceress, and why does she need to be destroyed?) If that’s not enough, (careful careful with this phrase – it has become a cliche in the querying and pitching arena) the guy she really cares for (removed a comma) betrays her, her grandfather despises her, the Sorceress’s henchmen are trying to kill her, and the only way to fix it all … is to be murdered.
Overall commentary: This pitch ends with a strong hook, but there is enough vagueness in the beginning that it’s tough to get a grasp on things. I think you need to tamp things down a bit more about this whole Warrior business. Keep the very last bit, but maybe lose the “If that’s not enough” list in order to make some room for focusing on Kiah’s primary conflict – search for her mother vs. becoming whoever the Warrior is supposed to be.
Okay, #PitchOn peoples, what are YOUR thoughts? Remember, for each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry in the draw for one of eight 10-page critique from S.M. Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa Hardesty, Stephanie Diaz, Catherine Scully, Jodie Andrefski, Paula Sangare, Talynn Lynn and Kaitlin Adams. Please use the same names for all of your critiques. Also Sarah Nicolas will be giving away three query critiques. The opportunity ends October 14.
Don’t forget – this is all just gearing up for a great, great contest on October 15th!
Marisa is looking for YA in any genre and is accepting submissions from anywhere in the world. It’s your chance to skip the slush pile and put your pitch right under the nose of a fantastic editor. There’s even better news – there is no limit on how many requests Marisa will make from the contest.
Here are the rules:
- Your manuscript must be complete, polished and ready to query – this means no first drafts or almost finished manuscripts.
- It must be YA.
- When the contest goes live on October 15th, post your entry details in the comments section of either YAtopia or Down Under Wonderings – each blog is accepting 100 entries only.
- Your entry detail needs to include a 50–70-word pitch.
- You can enter more than once if you have more than one complete, polished, ready-to-query manuscript.
Just as it’s important to get someone else to look over your manuscript before you query, it’s also a good idea to get feedback on your pitch before you post. With that in mind, S.M. Johnston has lined up about twenty blogs who are ready to help you hone your pitch. These workshops start on October 1 and you can find the list of blogs participating here.